Officers of the BLS

Dr. Rebecca Yahr - President

Becky Yahr studied botany at University of California, Davis, then worked as a field botanist for a few years and became enamoured of lichens sometime in the 1990s. She researched the association between fungi and their algae in lichens for her PhD at Duke University before moving to Scotland. Becky is now Lichenologist at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and her current work includes inventory work and species biology studies for conservation priority habitats in the UK in addition to teaching and outreach about lichens, biodiversity and conservation.

Contact by email on

Neil Sanderson - Vice President

Neil Sanderson Neil A Sanderson, is one of Britain’s top field lichenologists, with experience extending from south west England, to northern Scotland. A special interest is the relationship of Britain’s internationally important woodland and parkland lichens floras to land use history, current management and habitat conditions. The challenges of conserving lichen floras dependent on long continuity and stability in a rapidly changing environment are a particular concern.

Contact Neil Sanderson

Dr. Paul Cannon - Past President and Chair of Data Committee

Paul Cannon has worked in fungal systematics for more than half his life, moving over to the Dark Side after completing a PhD on legume classification. His early education at the Commonwealth Mycological Institute (subsequently IMI) included an appreciation that lichens are fungi too, and should be integrated into the overall fungal taxonomic scheme. Most of his professional life has involved studying leaf parasites, but he turned up at the BLS 50th Anniversary Meeting at Nettlecombe in 2008 and unwisely volunteered to become Editor of the Bulletin. The lichen “bug” rapidly took hold, and his current interests revolve around fieldwork, lichen imaging and web development. He now works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Contact Paul Cannon

Eluned Smith - Council Secretary

Eluned Smith"Always looking and wondering, sometimes identifying, seldom recording, I've been keen on lichens since my teens when I read the John Wyndham novel 'Trouble with Lichens'.
I've done a bit of medical research using electron microscopy to examine diabetic cells. Then some school science teaching, tutoring and mentoring. I'm fortunate to have a supportive high achieving family who indulge my lichenological interests but who are not quite paid up members of the BLS. 
But I'm working on it! And I love helping the Society with the Council meeting Minutes."

Contact by email on

Sandy Coppins - Communications Secretary

Contact by email on


Contact the treasurer by email on

Dr. Janet Simkin - Recording Scheme and Database

Janet Simkin studied botany at Cambridge but her interest in lichens dates back even further, to a school project on churchyard lichens. She was distracted for a while by a career in software development before returning to academic life to research the ecology of the lichen-rich grasslands contaminated by lead mining. Now a lecturer at Newcastle University she has a special interest in species-rich grasslands and anthropogenic plant communities, and her work involves a fascinating but often confusing mix of research, surveys and teaching. In the BLS she has been involved in developing our database and website.

Contact Janet Simkin by email on

Dr. Chris Ellis - Senior Editor of The Lichenologist

Chris Ellis is joint Senior Editor of The Lichenologist along with Leena Myllys (University of Helsinki). Chris was introduced to lichens through a postdoc working on lichen physiology with Peter Crittenden (University of Nottingham) and then trained on lichen diversity with Brian Coppins at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), where is now Head of Cryptogam Section and Co-ordinator for RBGE’s Scottish Conservation Science. Chris has particular interests in ecology and the response of lichens to environmental change.

Maxine Putnam - Bulletin Editor

Maxine PutnamMaxine studied botany at Bristol University before a short period in literature research with a pharmaceutical company. She then became editor of a microbiology journal in London for a number of years and is now Bulletin Editor for the Society. Her interest in lichens began in 2008 whilst living on the coast in North Devon, a county with an impressive list of species. Maxine has worked on recording for the New Flora of Devon as well as the BTO’s Bird Atlas (2007-2011) and submits lichen records to the Society’s database annually. For the past 7 years she has been leading workshops and field meetings for beginners in the study of lichens for both the Devon and Cornwall Wildlife Trusts and has been involved in two of Plantlife’s education programmes as tutor.

Contact on

Bryan Edwards - Conservation Officer and Chair of Conservation Committee

Contact Bryan Edwards

April Windle and Raymond Griffiths - Co-Chairs of Education and Promotions Committee

April WindleApril Windle is a naturalist with a particular interest in lichens, especially those occupying our rainforest habitats along the western seaboard of the British Isles. She is currently self-employed and involved in a variety of lichen education and conservation projects, whilst co-chairing the Education & Promotions Committee of the British Lichen Society.  Her employment history includes Plantlife International, the Natural History Museum, Exmoor National Park Authority and the RSPB. Twitter: @aprilwindle.

Raymond GriffithsRaymond Griffiths studied Applied Biology at the University of Bath and spent his working life in primary schools in Cardiff and Pembrokeshire. Soon after retirement from teaching, he was introduced to lichens on a course run by Margaret Howells at Aberystwyth University and subsequently became one of Tracey Lovering’s Welsh Lichen Apprentices.

Raymond would describe himself as an interested amateur for whom a knowledge of lichens helps in his understanding of the outdoor environment. He is particularly interested in the lichens of coasts and mountains.

Contact April and Raymond by email on

Graham Boswell – Field Meetings Secretary    

Graham Boswell

Graham Boswell is the Field Meetings Secretary and the Data Protection Officer for the British Lichen Society. He is also a member of the Education & Promotions Committee and Conservation Committee, and heads-up the BLS Montane Lichen Group. Graham is a retired Lecturer and Mountaineer, and is a practicing Ecologist.

Contact Graham Boswell by email on

Prof. Mark Seaward - Archivist and Mapping Recorder

Mark Seaward

Mark Seaward, Emeritus Professor at Bradford University, is an ecologist with a strong interest in biomonitoring pollution, for which he has been internationally honoured, including the Acharius Medal, and in the history of botany. He was the editor of The Naturalist for 36 years, the author and editor of numerous books, and written almost 500 scientific papers. He joined the BLS in 1960 and in 1963 established the Mapping Scheme, acting as its Recorder for many years; he has also been the Society’s President, received the Ursula Duncan Award, and is an Honorary Member.

Contact Mark Seaward by email on

Theresa Greenaway - Librarian

Contact Theresa Greenaway by email on

Richard Brinklow - Herbarium Curator

Richard Brinklow

Richard Brinklow has looked after the British Lichen Society Herbarium for many years. His interest in lichens began while a teenager in Derbyshire when David Hawksworth was compiling a county lichen flora, and continued while studying Botany at Durham University.  Now retired, he spent most of his professional life at Dundee Museum firstly in the Natural History Department and subsequently as a manager.  Over the years he has remained keen on field lichenology as part of a general interest in Natural History.  The BLS Herbarium is still housed at Dundee Museum.

Contact Richard Brinklow by email on

Graham Boswell - Data Protection Officer

Graham Boswell

Graham Boswell is the Field Meetings Secretary and the Data Protection Officer for the British Lichen Society. He is also a member of the Education & Promotions Committee and Conservation Committee, and heads-up the BLS Montane Lichen Group. Graham is a retired Lecturer and Mountaineer, and is a practicing Ecologist.

Contact Graham Boswell by email on

Chris Cant - Webmaster

Chris CantSince November 2020, Chris Cant has been helping to run the BLS websites and email system. He has been interested in lichens since 2018, has helped set up the Cumbria Lichen and Bryophyte group, runs their website and produces the lichen and byrophyte interactive species maps on there. Chris is a professional programmer/coder and maintains several websites for charities in the voluntary/conservation sector.

Contact Chris Cant by email on